What's Shenmue? (What's シェンムー ～湯川(元)専務をさがせ～, What's Shenmū ~Yukawa (moto) Senmu o Sagase~, lit. "What's Shenmue: Search for Yukawa (former) Senior Managing Director") was a special premier disc in Japan given to those who pre-ordered Shenmue, additionally another edition of the disc was given away in Famitsu, a Japanese gaming magazine. The only difference between the two is that the Famitsu version has an orange cover, as opposed to a blue cover. Due to a delay in releasing Shenmue in Japan, anyone who pre-ordered it was given this on the date it was intended to be released on. The game itself works like a demo of Shenmue, featuring Dobuita, a town in Yokosuka, although not all of it is accessible. You play as Ryo Hazuki much like you would in the full game. The disc also includes 4 of the movies included on the Passport disc of the original Shenmue that explain aspects of the game.
Due to the demo being only released in Japan, there are only Japanese text and voices, so no official translation in any other language was released. However, there is a fan-hacked Japanese Dreamcast version with options for unofficial translated English, Spanish, German or Brazilian Portuguese text available on the Internet.
Ryo is looking for Mr. Yukawa. He asks people around Dobuita such as Tom Johnson and Nozomi Harasaki. He also encounters Enoki and has a QTE battle with him. He eventually finds Yukawa and chases him. They eventually end up at You Arcade. Ryo saves Yukawa from a attacker that wanted a "disk". After that, Ryo and Yukawa talk for a bit then Yukawa wakes up and realizes it was all a dream. His desk is surrounded with Dreamcast boxes. He looks up to see a poster of Shenmue on the wall and then makes a big effort to help sell the Dreamcast console.
Differences from actual game
- In the demo, Tom wears a shirt with a Skeleton dressed as Uncle Sam instead of the Tom's Hot Dogs shirt he wears in the actual game.
- In the demo, Izumi Takano appeared blocking the player from entering an area not accessible from the demo. But she really didn't make an actual appearance until Shenmue II. Another NPC character that did not appear until Shenmue II but can be seen wandering around Dobuita is Meiling Ting, the owner of Centre Pawnshop. The demo is the only time where Meiling can be seen walking around in free quest, as in Shenmue II, she only can be seen sitting behind the counter at her shop.
- No Capsule Toy machines can be found in the demo.
- Enoki's twig in his mouth is lower than usual in the demo while in the actual game it's higher.
- Instead of chasing Jimmy Yan throughout Dobuita, Ryo chases Mr. Yukawa.
- During the chase with Mr. Yukawa, the NPC's encountered during the chase are different than the ones in the chase with Jimmy in the actual game.
- Certain NPC's have different faces than what they have in the actual game. Two examples being Naoyuki Ito and Shinkichi Noda.
- In the demo when you press the X button, Ryo crouches down.